Zynstra, the leading provider of purpose-built software powering the retail edge, today released more findings from its C-Store Technology Insight Report, which identifies the key priorities and obstacles c-store retailers face as they look to deliver better customer experiences and reduced costs.
Point-of-sale flexibility is critical for delivering right customer experience
When asked about POS systems, the majority of c-store retailers indicated a number of drivers for change at the POS. This was no surprise, as only 18% of respondents said they had the exact POS infrastructure to serve the business now and in the future. Additional insights include:
· 25%: are uncertain of the future of customer checkout behavior, but know they need to make POS investments now to adjust to evolving behaviors
· 23%: acknowledge that their current POS infrastructure requires change to meet the demands of the future
· 21%: seek a solution to keep their legacy POS running with minimal cost to buy their c-store estates’ time as they analyze how checkout behavior evolves
Keeping pace with Amazon Go and omni-channel experiences
C-stores know that Amazon Go’s frictionless checkout has set the benchmark for convenience and their Prime loyalty program continues to expand offline. While c-store retailers know they will have to offer new levels of frictionless checkout and omnichannel convenience to compete, they face barriers due to the high cost and lack of consistency across their technology infrastructure.
According to the survey, top challenges in rolling out new applications and services to c-stores include:
· 43%: cost of sending IT teams to upgrade and install the new features
· 42%: difficulty in consistency of offline-online components
· 37%: overall budgets hindered their ability to implement new features
· 32%: lack of consistency across store sites created friction in delivering an omnichannel experience
In response to the Amazon threat, survey respondents identified mobile POS tablets, kiosk-based POS, scan & go, mobile payment apps, order online/pick-up in-store and order at the pump as “very important” to the future of their business.
Meeting the future c-store IT needs: simplified, cost-effective and scalable technology
To meet the challenges of implementing new applications and services, 91% of survey respondents answered that simplified management of IT is a top priority. Centralized management of stores through a software-defined store strategy can be the key to this, as it allows c-stores to manage all stores from one central system, enabling faster app deployment and more secure IT updates. Other top IT priorities for c-store retailers include:
· Reducing IT costs
· The ability to run new advanced applications
· Empowering store associates with the right technology to maximize sales per square foot
“With rising labor costs impacting margins, c-store retailers are looking for ways to drive in-store cost efficiencies while meeting customer’s expectations for a fast and frictionless experience,” said Nick East, CEO and founder, Zynstra. “To achieve this, we are seeing c-store retailers look towards optimizing their existing POS infrastructure while digitally transforming their stores for the future.”